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Commando War Stories

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The seventh day without clean underwear for Sergeant Hermes' platoon.

AKA Commando Comics.

Chances are that you've heard of these small comic book stories that were very popular between the 1960s and the 1980s and are still being printed to this day by D. C. Thomson, those fine Scottish purveyors of The Beano,

With four issues at the start of every month. They portray the British Armed Forces, mostly during the Second World War, as handsome, adventurous, brave and fearless squaddies. Just like today in fact, but without the slabs of wifebeater and sexual deviancy.

Although a comic, much of the artwork is superb and the detail exacting. This was initially due in no small measure to the fact that many of the earlier artists had indeed served during WW2. Despite protestations from some Germans only outright Nazis are portrayed as being evil with most of the combatants of either side doing their best in a war not of their choosing.

Many of the stories follow a tried and trusted pattern:

  • A soldier/sailor/crab gets lumbered with another, but weaker team mate, who’s almost certainly “put up a black” or does so shortly after the first meeting. (Lumey!)
  • After that both get posted to the same combat unit and the local war situation goes tits. (Bloomin’ Jerries!)
  • The two central characters have to rely on each other, resulting in mutual respect. (Take that Fritz!)
  • They both end up as bezzers and only strict orders (from D. C. Thomson) stops them bumming in the final frame. (Blimey!)

A damn good read for a 12 year old, or can simply be coloured in if serving with the RAF Regiment.


Also the source of many battle-worthy exclamations:

  • Ach Himmel! – Oh Heavens!
  • Achtung Spitfire!
  • Gott in Himmel!
  • Donner und Blitzen! – Thunder and lightning!
  • Swinehund! – Pig dog!
  • For you, Tommy, the war is over


I couldn’t put them down – The Times Literary Supplement

I couldn’t pick them up – Karen Carpenter

Mental Health Warning

Sadly some people take the stories as an instruction manual and start to see symptoms of Waltism.